Westridge Farm dairy cows grazing in field

The fight for Westridge farmland continues!

I have fought against the development of houses on historic and environmentally important farm land and green fields in my ward since 2015 alongside residents and neighbours.

I was elected in 2016, 2017, and 2021 to support the residents of East Ryde and Ryde Appley and Elmfield Ward in their fight to protect and preserve nature, the environment and fight the realities of climate change. I have consulted local residents regularly at every twist and turn of this case. I always asked the simple question: do you wish me, as your elected representative, to fight against this development and the majority have continued to say “yes we do”.

After the last planning committee on 25th April 2023 where West Acre Park application was further voted on and was approved by 6 votes to 5, I asked my residents again at my monthly meeting on the 4th May, “Did they wish to carry on the fight”. It was a unanimous “yes”. I emailed many others who did not attend that meeting and the message was also “yes”. The 500 plus residents and supporters who have contributed to the Crowd Justice site have committed their “hard earned money” to this cause. There is a real principle in all this and it is one that the 600 material objections made to this application have not been given due weight  as material  considerations in the planning balance.

Judicial Review is the only way residents can now get their voice heard!

Since fighting this case I have learnt so much but the one thing I have learnt is that the voice of residents is a small one compared to landowners and developers. If a planning application is refused, a developer can appeal and if it is a large development they normally have the finance to successfully fight their case. Residents, who do not have the resources of a developer or landowner, have the option only of Judicial Review and they have 6 weeks after consent is given. 

Not a fair weather politician or human being!

I was brought up to believe that you should stand up if something is wrong. All the evidence I have seen and all the process I have witnessed in regard this application I believe is simply wrong and a huge cover-up of mistake after mistake. Residents and taxpayers of IW Council deserve better.

It was a travesty and tragedy that a three generational Island farming family had no option to leave the home they were born in through mental exhaustion of Covid19 pandemic and cost of living crisis due to constant fear of this planning application. To me this was always about money and greed not about providing housing and that  this application has been unethical and immoral pure and simple.

People Power – Residents fight back!

Ryde Appley and Elmfield residents have prepared for the legal eventualities in 2021 when the application was first approved: They incorporated  a company, Greenfields IOW Ltd, and employed one of the best environmental and planning lawyers in the UK. They have built a case. They and I have fought over the last 2 years to get the application back to planning committee. Sadly, all political process has been exhausted at this stage and the only route is now Judicial Review and I will support my residents to get the application process duly considered in the High Court of London..  It has been a rocky 8 year journey to get to this point but my residents believe they are fighting for protection not only of their own way of life but for future generations of Ryde residents. They and I believe that although the farmer has left, this historic and nature filled environmentally important land is a community asset that needs to be preserved.  The  case remains that the whole process of this application has been flawed and once it is presented to High Court Justices, the whole case and supporting documentation will be in the public domain and everyone who wishes will see how the mistakes which have been made (whether they be innocent, negligent or wilful in nature). I am firmly of the view that Ryde does not belong to the Isle of Wight Council to make planning decisions willy-nilly affecting the lives, livelihoods and liberties of all who live here.   Ryde is a rich community made of its population and the land of which belongs to its residents. Those people deserve justice.

Save Westridge Farm Campaign (crowdjustice.com)  Click on to see the latest update!

See residents’ campaign save westridge farm | save westridge farm

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